|Ge4/4ii 623 passes through Rabius-Surrein with the Glacier Express from St Moritz to Zermatt on 17 Feb 2019.|
Thursday 14th February:
|Paris metro line 6 awaits departure from Nation.|
|BB7248 passes Laroche Migennes with a Lyon - Paris TER 15/02/2019.|
|BB7244 paues at Laroche Migennes while pushing the |
15:34 Paris Bercy - Lyon Perrache.
Friday 15th February:
|GDe4/4 6003 in 'Train du Chocolate' livery gets underway from Montbovon with a MOB service from Montreaux to Zweisseman. 15/02/2019.|
|BB22313 dissapears into the carriage sidings at Geneva. 15/02/2019|
|MBC Re4/4 420 506 stabled at Morges.|
|The narrow gauge train to Bulle at Montbovon.|
At Lausanne I then needed to continue around Lake Geneva to Montreaux- however before my plan to do this had manifested I was surprised to see a top and tail Re4/4 scratch set coming around the corner heading back to Geneva. Not expecting many opportunities to get a ride with these, and with a nice opening window I found myself on the train back to Morges. It might delay my onward plans, but it had to be done! Unfortunately by the time I arrived the narrow gauge freight had gone, but I did find a train onwards to Montreaux with a loco, which the one I should have been on from Laussane was not!
Looking up the train I was now in revealed a very tight (+1) connection at Montreaux for the MOB train which I had planned to take. Being Switzerland, of course, it worked.
|Views from the Montreaux - Oberland - Bernois (MOB).|
|Railcars at Bulle|
|The classic Re4/4 is in decline on passenger SBB passenger workings,|
but can still be found without difficulty at Zurich Hbf. 15/02/2019
Around 40 minutes in it was time for me to leave the train at Montbovon, the full journey through to Zweisseman will have to wait for another day. I changed onto a modern unit for a further foray though the snow to Bulle. What began as a sparsely loaded service filled up with schoolchildren towards the end of the journey and was positively rammed! Luckily they didn't all transfer onto the next train to Fribourg. Here it was back behind locos with a IC2000 set (with added single decks) on to Zurich. Here I met the first of my friends before our whole group converged on Chur. I had arrived just a few minutes astray from them (having arrived from London by way of Strasbourg and Basel)- not bad given that the confluence of our journeys had not been designed. The train to Chur was rammed again it wasn't until Saglians that I swapped my armrest perch for a seat.
An early night was due for all of us- but then we ended up in a beer hall. Again we managed to make friends (or did they decide to make friends with us?), need I add that it was not an early night. A karaoke bar may have featured and most of my CHF's seemed to have disappeared by the morning!
|Ge4/4iii 647 pauses at Samedan with a Chur - St Moritz service. Our dining car was on the rear of the train. 16/02/2019|
|Allegra at Arosa! Sadly not the loco hauled train I had |
hoped for, but certainly the snow I wanted. 16/02/2019
|GE4/4ii is on the rear of the sled train returning from Preda |
to Bergun. The sled run is on the left, briefly running uphill!
Back at the hotel after a little lie down (and purchasing an adaptor for the funny European sockets in these parts) I was ready to go again to meet the rest of our group at Chur (14 of us in total) for our run on the dining train up the Albula line. Ge6/6iii 647 brought in the stock and the two dining coaches were at the rear of the train. Lunch was a very pleasant affair with good food and service, though I really didn't need a beer after the previous night! The price was pretty good for Switzerland as well, eating from the set menu, and of course the Albula pass in the snow did not disappoint! We left the train at Samedan, it continuing the last few miles to St Mortiz. We were to head back in the opposite direction to Preda in order to risk life and limb on the sled run down to Bergun. Certainly sledding down the Albula is great fun, but with no instruction, very limited steering and next to no ability to stop I think it must also rank as one of the most dangerous things I have done! That didn't stop us having three goes, using the Bergun - Preda shuttle which runs specially for the sledding with Ge4/4ii 630 providing the power. It took until the last run for me to crash off the course altogether (and also clock a top speed of 43kph!).
Sledding over it was time to get the train back to Chur and find an evening meal. It wasn't such a late night, but carnival was in town and a fun evening was had listening to the various brass bands in funny outfits in the Stadthalle.
Sunday 17th Feb:
|G 4/5 107 'Albula waits for a regular RhB train to pass the Landquarts - Disentis charter at Trin. 17.02.2019|
Today's entertainment involved very little in the way of decision- our group was booked onto the RhB Nostalgic steam trip from Lanquarts to Disentis worked by G 4/5 loco 107 'Albula'. Together with sister locomotive 108 'Engiadina' these locomotives have been in constant employ on the RhB since their delivery in 1906!
|107 'Albula' in the sun ahead of its excursion from Landquart.|
|Passengers assist in turning the loco at Sumvitig-Cumpadials. 17/02/2019|
The run back was downhill, and time to hit the bar coach. With the organises not realising quite how many Brits were on board an extra beer stop became necessary with extra supplies brought on board at Illanz. By Landquarts the bar was fairly dry once again- even all their shots of 'Loco Wasser' had disappeared... can't think how that happened!
Tonight was finally a quieter affair, and it was needed!
Monday 18th Feb:
|Ge4/4ii 628 work a St Mortiz - Landquart service across the viaduct between Saas and Kublis. 18/02/2019|
|A Be4/4 railcar works between Schiers and Razuns heads away from Malans|
Along with much of the 'heritage' fleet these units are due to be replaced
in the near future with new EMU's. 17/02/2019.
|Ge6/6ii at Domat/Ems with the 'mixed' train from Illans to Chur.|
|Ge4/4iii 650 advertising the UNESCO Albula route approaches Klosters with a train for Davos Platz. 17/02/2019.|
|A line up of Ge4/4ii and Ge6/6ii in fading light at Klosters.|
|Ge4/4ii 628 approahces Klosters. 17/20/2019.|
Tuesday 19th Feb:
|ABe4/4iii Railcar 55 leads a St Moritz - Tirano service along the frozen shores of Lago Bianco near to the lines summit of 2253m above sea level at Ospizio Bernina. 18/02/2019.|
|An Allegra set arrives into Ospizio Bernina.|
|An Allegra railcar leads the Bernina Express through the vast snowy|
landscape of Ospizio Bernina high on the Bernina Pass. 18/02/2019
|ABe4/4iii railcars 54 and 52 work another train towards Tirano, Italy. 18/02/2019|
|Departmental vehicle 23201, converted from an ABe4/4ii railcar on snow duties. 19/02/2019.|
|ABe4/4iii 52 departs from Tirano for St Moritz. 19/02/2019.|
|Ge6/6ii pauses between duties at Pontresina. 19/02/2019|
Returning with a few 'train beers' and a bottle of Lemoncello we make our way to dinner at the restaurant at Alp Grum. We have booked ahead but the need clearly wasn't too great as there are only a handful of other diners. There deserved to be more as the food, service and views were excellent. Another slight panic to pay as the 5 minute warning light for 'Pontressina' is illuminated. This is Switzerland of course and there never seems to be a problem. The driver pops into the bar for a coffee while the waiter pops onto the train to correct our bill!
The evenings entertainment is a bit of Apre Ski- but my voice won't hold out prompting an early conclusion than I would have liked. I'm sure I would be thankful in the morning.
Wednesday 20th Feb:
|Ge6/6ii works between Punt Moragl and Pontresina with a short freight working. The cross country skier seems oblivious to the train, but many did become distracted by our pile of bags at the edge of the run! 20/02/2019.|
|Ge4/4ii 6XX heads towards Punt Moragl with a train to Scuol-Tarasp.|
|Ge4/4ii crosses the viaduct at Cinuos-chel-Brail with a train from Landquart to St Mortiz. 20/02/2019|
|Narrow Gauge Landscapes at Cinuos-chel-Brail. 20/02/2019|
I'm pleased to say it all paid off, 626 meeting grins as it crossed the bridge at the head of the St Moritz train. The freight which 'might' have followed it didn't, but we were going home happy, as long as that connection made- which it did!
|SBB Cargo Re4/4's continue to work international trains into Germany.|
421 379 waits at Zurich Hbf with a train for Stuttgart Hbf. 20/02/2019
Ge4/4ii 633 was our last loco on the RhB depositing us at Landquarts for a very crowded IC2000 set back to Basel. Swiss Express Re4/4 11108 taunting us with a train for Chur which we definitely could not take! There was just one more drama to befall us on the way home. After a beautiful run along the edge of Lake Zurich once we eventually found ourselves some seats it all nearly went very badly wrong at Zurich Hbf. Our train was through to Basel, fast from Zurich. Only a few minutes before departure I noticed the screens had changed on board; they were now showing Luzern. Presuming this was information about a connection I ignored it... but it didn't change, and wasn't showing any other connections. Our train was surely still going to Basel? No? No. That was now on platform 34 downstairs and leaving in 1 minute!!! Not the slick SBB operation I was used to with an unscheduled stock swap! Fortunately another passenger directed us to platform 16 where a Basel train was due to depart in just enough time for us to get on it. It was hauled and formed of the older style 'opening window' style coaches which are starting to show their age (surely due for withdrawal once the Twindexx sets finally settle down?). It was a stopping service to Basel behind an Re460 which would put us 20 minutes behind where we should have been. Fortunately the 50 bus to the airport was as efficient as always and the bag drop was made with minimum fuss with at least a couple of minutes to spare- we even briefly met our friends flying to Manchester who had left some hours earlier without the tight airport connection stress. EasyJet were on time as well, and thus ended another great trip.
|Ge4/4iii 649 heads a Landquart - St Mortiz service as it starts its journey heading towards Malans. 17/02/2019.|
|Ge4/4ii 627 is stabled at Davos Plats for morning service. 19/02/2019|
Thanks to Jon, Rhys, Rob, Rabbit, Fatz, Bruce, Lyn, Matty, Nic, Strak, Paul, Ted, John and anyone else I have forgotten for your excellent company, organisation and just a great trip!
|Ge4/4iii 651 approaches Malans with a train for Davos Platz. 17/02/2019|